Do you have any role models as such?
“I don’t think I have one specific role model, other than my dad! I can tell you who I idolised when I was younger. Olivia Newton John! Because of her part in Grease but also Xanadu!
“I come across women in all aspects of life doing amazing things. I love it when I see that there are women in a genuine leadership role. I work with women all the time at different companies – other management companies or record labels – that I love talking to and learning from. But I can’t think of one single role model. I want different bits of pieces of everyone to inspire me, I guess.”
In your 25 year-long career have you ever had to overcome blatant sexism? And if so, how did you do that?
“Yes, I have, and unfortunately I think I’ll continue to. I’ll give you a simple, everyday scenario: I’d be in a production office, or I’d be at a venue, or on the band bus or even having lunch with one of my artists, whatever it is. Countless times someone, a friend, would come wherever I was with one of my artists, or in a room of all men talking production, and until I was introduced after the fact as, ‘This is Kristen who manages us’ they would say, ‘Oh, I’m sorry, I thought you were so-and-so’s girlfriend.’ That happens all of the time. And it’s a bit like, ‘What made you think that?’ I understand that sometimes it’s not meant like that and I really can’t get mad at that, they don’t know any better, but at the same time it’s a perception that’s there and it is sexism. That’s the problem.
“To give you another quick example of something that happened recently that hit me a little hard, because it was right there in front of my face, when I got promoted to President last year it was a big moment for me and a proud moment. I put [the news] up on my socials – which I would never normally do because we work behind the scenes and I don’t need the pat on the back, but it’s nice to be rewarded for your work, and there was this sea of positive comments from people, some of whom I haven’t talked to in years, some of whom I don’t know. However, in that sea of positivity there were three comments from three men – and I have no idea who they were – asking what I had to do to get to where I was. I don’t need to tell you exactly what they said, you can figure it out. But I just looked at that and I thought, ‘Wow! You don’t even know me but you’re in that place where I couldn’t have done anything on my own?’ So, yes, that’s a problem that’s still there.
“So what can you do about it? We always get asked that all the time. Honestly, I think it needs to start in the home; I think it has to start at a very young age. I grew up in a family where I have an older brother, but we were always equal. I feel that I was nurtured that way and brought up that way, so when I went out into the world I knew that there wasn’t anything I couldn’t do if I put my mind to it. I never even [thought] that being a woman getting into the music industry would be an issue. But there’s a lot of people that don’t have that and it’s obvious.
“I think in the world of social media it’s even worse; you can sit behind a computer and say whatever you want to say and you see everyone’s ignorance. It has to start with the upbringing. You need to be taught that you’re equal. Just because you’re a boy or just because you’re a girl, it doesn’t matter.”